Baking on the rise in Nagaland

Items baked by Iris Bake, a home based baker in Dimapur. (Morung Photo)
Items baked by Iris Bake, a home based baker in Dimapur. (Morung Photo)
Items baked by Iris Bake, a home based baker in Dimapur. (Morung Photo)
Items baked by Iris Bake, a home based baker in Dimapur. (Morung Photo)
Items baked by Iris Bake, a home based baker in Dimapur. (Morung Photo)

Atono Tsükrü Kense 
Kohima | August 8

They say baking is both an art and science. It’s true as baking requires creativity and precise measurement of ingredients, flavour and texture and yes, some patience to make that perfect muffins, cake, cookies etc. 

During this lockdown, there has been a surge in baking. There are many first timers trying their hands at baking and there are some who are trying to upgrade their skills.

Undeniably, during this lockdown, the dormant talents and skills of Nagas are surging left and right. The display of finished products, on various social media platforms, is quite overwhelming.

Consequently, there has been shortage of baking essentials in the market, even for basic ingredients such as baking powder and soda, which otherwise were abundantly available before lockdown. 

According to bakery owners and shopkeepers in Kohima, one of the highest and fastest selling products are baking essentials, which fly off shelves within a day or two. 

“Everyone seems to be baking these days. Everyone is looking for baking ingredients in the market and it’s getting sold off as soon as it is put up for sale,” commented a store manager who sells imported eatables and baking products.

An absolute delight
Speaking to The Morung Express, professional bakers Jenny Kath Thong and Kevi Medeo concurred that there has been a sprout in baking especially among first timers, which they described as “an absolute delight to the heart and eye.”

“Everyone around seems to be on a baking spree and that might be a reason for the shortage of baking essentials around the town even though supplies are as usual. With ample free time now, a lot of people have come forward with the creativity inside them to explore,” said Medeo.

“I have always encouraged people to bake and it’s healthier than frying. There are many opportunities if you work hard,” commented Thong.

Baking as a livelihood
When enquired on the prospect of baking as a profession, Medeo who left her teaching profession to pursue her hobby of becoming a professional baker said, “Nagaland has a lot of potential in the field of baking to earn one’s livelihood apart from other job.”

With not an iota of regret leaving behind the teaching profession, she said, “I am happy to say that the reward is bigger. By the end of the day, it’s worthwhile to see my clients happy, and best of all, getting paid too for my efforts.”

Thong also stated baking can be a source of livelihood if one is consistent in delivering the products on time and maintaining the best quality. She observed that there has been a sharp increase in the consumption of freshly baked products among the people creating endless opportunities for enthusiast bakers. 

“Even during this lockdown, I have been pleasantly surprised by the number of orders I received every single day,” said Thong.

Words of advice
They advised those new to baking to invest in good baking essentials and the best ingredients and never to compromise on the quality of products.

Thong said baking is an art with many advantages, wherein homemade fresh products are not only healthy, but tastier.

With almost all the baking essentials and ingredients available in the market today, she said, “If you have started don’t give up. Always use the best ingredients if you want to stand out. Never compromise on the quality of the product.” 

Medeo also advised the upcoming bakers to invest in a good oven. “Quality matters more than quantity. Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish,” she opined. 

Apart from baking being an art and science, and a great prospect to take up as a profession, this journalist as an enthusiast baker found baking to be a therapy to de-stress during this COVID-19 pandemic. 

Yes, baking can mess up your kitchen and perhaps double your chores, but from the time you start mixing the ingredients, knead the dough, put in the oven and wait for the bell to ring, the smell emanating from the oven is invigorating as it is said: “Nothing says home like the smell of baking.”

So, enthusiast bakers may take the words of advice from the professionals and upgrade their skills not only as a hobby but taking it up as a profession. And for those looking to de-stress, pick up a whisk and start whisking.